Tag: iPad

Does the iPad = 1960?

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A friend recently asked me whether they thought an iPad or a laptop was better for their child.

If you thought I would have said “iPad” straight away – you’re right. After all, seeing a child interact with a tablet makes you marvel at how intuitive and accessible it really is compared to a laptop which seems ancient in comparison. Besides, I love my iPad but the more I thought about it, the more my answer started shifting towards a laptop.

Escaping technology bias

apple devices are multiplying

They're multiplying

With minimal start-up time, convenient size and beautiful screen, it is clear that tablets are biased towards consumption over creation.  However, since reading Douglas Rushkoff’s book Program or be Programmed I’ve become far more aware of the importance of recognising and not giving in to the natural bias of technology.

In a media environment that is becoming increasingly participatory, stories and mythology are no longer told but co-created. As the rise of social networks, blogs, podcasts and online video has shown, digital media is biased towards creation by enabling everyone to write and publish. We are no longer resigned to being passive consumers of media – as was the case when traditional mass media was the only player in town – but active participants with real influence and the power to shape communications.

When you look at it through this lens, tablets are almost a throwback to the past as it discourages longer, meaningful creation. It’s well suited for short bursts of content creation such as a tweet or a status update, but not so flash at long emails or blog posts (as Prakky opines).

Learning to create

The long and short of it is that although there are apps for creating – word processing, spreadsheets, photo editing, etc. – they are shallow compared to the same thing on a laptop. At this point in time, touchscreens are yet to offer a depth of interaction that a keyboard and mouse offers.

Much like the argument that Google bypasses critical thinking, so too have tablets removed the need to understand how software and hardware works, offering up instant solutions. For this reason, while I think there’s a place for both, for children who are just starting out, it is vital that they explore, question and test the limits of technology without restriction.

What do you think? Are iPad’s and tablets better learning devices for children or is there still a place for laptops?

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How fun is the Web really?

Digital Strategy12 Comments

To me, it’s plenty fun but at lunch with my friend Steve Culgan (@sculgan), we discussed what effects new technologies like Twitter, smartphones and the iPad have on people’s attention and our ability to just enjoy ourselves.

As Steve put it, the sheer volume of information and content that we are exposed to has the potential to make us more neurotic. Instead of being able to focus on just one thing (say, TV), there are now multiple channels competing for our attention. Rarely do we ever simply watch TV. For example, right now I am watching Algeria vs Slovenia on TV while writing this post on a laptop and checking Twitter on an iPhone.

The Argument

The argument is that we are no longer able to live in the moment. Obsessive checking of Twitter and the feeling that you might be missing out on something only contribute to this growing neurosis. The problem is further exacerbated when you take into account the amount of noise when your followers grow.

Our ability to enjoy ourselves diminishes as we constantly worry that there could be something else we could doing.

My counter, however, is that while the tools have the potential to disrupt our lives (let alone our brain patterns), human beings are incredibly adaptable.

Just take a look at a typical high school kid. They are growing up in a world where these technologies and multitasking are the norm. They’ve figured out how to juggle all these competing media and still have a good time.

The Challenge

The challenge is for my generation and older who haven’t always had this in our lives and aren’t quite as adept at the whole multitasking thing.

We must know our limits and how much we can handle before it’s too much. As a parent, there is an opportunity to cost to being constantly plugged in. Family-time means giving them my full attention (or at least a close approximation of it) – not being constantly distracted checking-in or posting status updates. When it’s just me, I’m free to do as I please whether it be playing PS3, blogging, tweeting or generally wasting time online.

The point is, you must accept that there are some things you’re going to miss out on. The beauty of something like Twitter and social media is that the cream will rise to the top. Following the right people or subscribing to the right feeds gives me the confidence that if it’s important enough, I’m going to hear about it.

How do you go juggling multiple media devices? Does something have to give or can you do it all?

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Why the iPad will change everything

Digital Strategy6 Comments

Despite already having twice as many computers (including smart phones) than there are people in my house, I’ve still managed to find a place for an ipad.

While it’s true that it doesn’t offer anything truly revolutionary (it is, arguably, a giant ipod touch), it is how it is packaged and the benefits of having a bigger screen that are what makes it indispensable for me.

Here’s why:

The screen is drop dead gorgeous. Nothing looks quite as good as it does on an ipad. Tweetdeck, Wired, even Keynote and Pages.

It’s a great in-between device. For those times (such as this short business trip, where I’m writing this) when you don’t necessarily need the grunt of a laptop or desktop but need something more functional than a mobile phone.

It blends the focused nature of using iphone apps with an infinitely friendlier user-interface. Anyone who’s used an iphone will feel right at home, even if you haven’t it is just so simple and intuitive to use.

Did I mention how sexy it was?

Browsing or in fact doing anything on an ipad is a more communal experience than doing it in front of a computer. Within minutes of firing up the New York Times free app, my wife and my mum were huddled around me interacting with the screen, discussing articles of interest.

The size is just right for so many occassions. On the flight back to Adelaide, for instance, it was so much easier maneuvering an ipad than a laptop with a screen large enough to properly enjoy videos and work on a couple of documents.

Transitioning from one app to another is totally seamless. Waiting at the boarding gate, I could switch from Twitter, to Safari, emailing a link to a colleague and back to watching a video someone sent me without really breaking stride.

Finally, as Craig Wilson puts it, the ipad is a total media convergence.

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3 Digital Trends Every Marketer Needs To Know

Digital Strategy3 Comments

As I wind down my time at Square Holes, I thought it would be fitting to reflect on the digital trends I’ve observed over the past 18 months. While there have been dozens, these are the ones that have the biggest implications for marketers and communicators.

So without further adieu…

  1. Mobile finally takes off. Seriously.
    We’ve been saying this one for a few years now, but this time it really is. In the last 12 months there has been a seismic shift in the role mobile phones play in people’s lives. Driven by falling data prices and the spectacular growth of the smartphone market (seriously, 1 in 3 people I know has either an iPhone or Blackberry with a few Android phones starting to pop up as well) we are becoming less reluctant to use our phones for things other than voice and text. Even the way we use social media is quickly shifting to mobile.

    Quite simply, people are demanding content where and when they want it. With the imminent release of the iPad, how we consume content is about to change forever. Add to this the fact that 40% of Australians would rather lose their wallet than their phone and you can see our changing attitudes.

  2. How we find news has changed.
    In the days pre-social media, if you wanted to find out what was happening in the world you needed to actively seek it out by either reading a newspaper, watching the 6 o’clock news or tuning into a radio news bulletin. Now, the news finds you. Social media and the evolving web has changed how we find out about today’s breaking news stories. We have become less and less reliant on offline and online news outlets, and are instead finding out from within our networks on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Not to say that mainstream news is irrelevant, rather that social media is driving traffic there.

    And just recently, Jon Klein, Presdident of CNN had this to say,
    “The competition I’m really afraid of is social nets. We want to be the most trusted source. But on Facebook, people are depending on their friends as news sources.”

    With stories like the Michael Jackson’s death and the Hudson river plane crash either breaking or finding legs on social media, we’ve only just scratched the surface of where this is headed.

    Huson River Plane Crash

  3. Forget the water cooler. Shared experiences are happening online.
    The internet has transformed how we exchange information with each other. Rather than being reserved solely for times when we are hanging out socially at the backyard BBQ or around the water cooler, we now share what we are feeling, thinking or doing 24/7 on social networks. Instead of making us feel disconnected (as the skeptics predicted), we are in fact more connected now than ever before and with an ever larger network of people to boot!
    Social media has empowered us to share information in ways previously reserved for pundits and the media. We trust the recommendations of our peers over so-called experts and aren’t afraid to let the world know when we have a bad experience. You only need look at awards shows or events like the release of ‘Avatar’ to see how powerful social media can be at making, or breaking, your success. Similarly, brands are also more accountable than ever before and can no longer afford to ignore the conversation e.g. Domino’s, American Airlines, Dell, etc.

What do you think? Do these trends apply to your business? What other digital trends have you observed?

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Launching the iPad: A Marketing Perspective

Digital Strategy, Social Media19 Comments

apple-ipadWith the interwebs (especially Twitter) all aflutter over the launch of the Apple’s latest technological marvel, the iPad, I thought it would be timely to post my reactions. However, instead of passing judgment on a device that I am yet to get my hands on (hint, hint Apple reps), I thought it would be fun to look at the launch from an entirely different perspective.

First of all, this is not the first Apple product unveiling I have borne witness to. I was there (well, not actually there, but aware of it anyway) when Steve Jobs announced the iPod, iTunes, the switch to Intel chips and the original iPhone. Yet somehow, the hype leading up to those pales in comparison to the amount of speculation and praise that has been heaped on the iPad in the weeks and months leading up to Jan 27. It was hardly surprising that Mac Fanbois, spurred on no doubt by Steve Jobs own comments,  claimed that the then-unnamed Apple tablet was going to be a “game changer”, but then so too did the mainstream press who heralded it as ushering in a new era of computing, entertainment, media, etc.  all before the device had even be released.

While it might turn out to be a game changer, my first impressions are that it is nowhere near the giant leap forward that the iPhone, iTunes or even the iMac were. To me, those three did more to revolutionise how we think about mobile phones, music and the computers place in the home.

ipad_2

Irrespective of whether the iPad lives up to the hype, full marks must go to Apple’s marketing team for another outstanding product launch. They have leveraged the reach and power of internet (not to mention the brand’s mystique) to ramp the rumour mill into overdrive by saying, well, very little. Instead of shouting about it, they leaked snippets of information and essentially left their fans and industry analysts to let their imaginations run wild.

Next time you think about putting out another piece of collateral telling consumers how great you are, stop and ask yourself if you are saying more than you need to. Too much and you run the risk of painting yourself into a corner and alienating potential customers. Not enough and they won’t know what you’re about. While chances are you don’t have the same brand cache and fervent fan base as Apple, it is worth considering how much detail you need to put out there to tantalise your audience and to know what will get them excited.

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